As of now the Los Angeles Lakers are still without a head coach, and it’s almost August. Sure they are taking their time and seeing how free agency plays out, but sooner or later management is going to have to make a decision about who their general on the sidelines will be. Here’s one name other than Byron Scott who popped up this week, Doc Rivers. Yes, Rivers is still the Los Angeles Clippers coach as of now, but if Donald Sterling is still the owner in another month, Doc Rivers could step down as the Clippers coach. It’s all speculation at this point, but it does make things very interesting for both LA teams.
Would Doc actually leave the Clippers? Sure he would. Rivers is an NBA juggernaut and won’t stand for working under an owner who’s a racist, no matter how good the team is. Rivers has morals like anyone else and he would exercise every moral and ethical value of his by stepping down and sending a message not just to Sterling, but the NBA.
The NBA has obviously seized control of the Clippers and banned Sterling from all team operations, but he still owns the team. The longer he fights with the NBA over his ownership of the team the Clippers could see a backlash from its players and coaches; they may look completely different and lose all of their value. Another big hit would be if Steve Ballmer pulled out of his deal to buy the team for $2 billion, then the dominoes could fall and fall hard.
Doc Rivers could be that one domino that shakes the landscape for both LA teams. If he left the Clippers they would be right back at square one, but the Lakers become an interesting option for Rivers who has already established himself in LA.
With the Lakers still having a vacant coaching position, maybe they are waiting to see what happens with the Clippers and their ownership situation. In all honesty, the Lakers could be doing themselves justice by waiting it out. If Rivers is indeed the light at the end of the tunnel than this waiting period is worth it.
Potentially waiting it out for Rivers could be risky because there is no guarantee that Rivers will step down at this point, but he clearly would be an upgrade over all the other coaching candidates. Byron Scott is the clear front-runner, but he isn’t on the same level as Rivers. Scott is a proven coach and is known for reviving rebuilding teams, but he is probably not the Lakers main choice. It’s sad to say, but he may be a consolation prize at this point especially if the rumors surrounded Rivers gain more traction.
Rivers is a superstar coach right now and brings more positives than negatives to every team that he’s coached and it wouldn’t be any different with the Lakers. Byron Scott is the clear choice right now for the Lakers, but having him wait this long has to spark up some kind of speculation with why they are waiting.
Rivers could revitalize the Lakers and make every fan forget about Phil Jackson if he came aboard, and more importantly give the Lakers stability that has eluded them for the last few years. He would have to work alongside Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss which would be a task in itself, but his star as a coach would become much brighter. He wouldn’t have the power of being vice-president of basketball operations, but he would have a management team that has an open check book, with no thought of the luxury tax; especially if the team is in the title hunt. Rivers arrival would also mean the chance for Kobe to win his sixth ring that appears to be way in the distance and out of reach for the moment.
Kobe would love Doc as coach, but wouldn’t be able to step on Doc as he has with past coaches, not named Phil Jackson. Rivers would command respect from Kobe and company for the simple fact that he carries himself with a winner’s mentality. Something Kobe can relate to. He’s the kind of coach who the Lakers would love to have, but can’t get their hands on him. This could be why the Lakers are keeping everyone on edge. Messing up this coaching hire could really set the Lakers back 10 years if not more, if the right guy is not selected.
Waiting for Doc Rivers is a crazy rumor and somewhat of a pipe dream, but at this point all bets are off. With the Clippers ownership in the air and the Lakers in search of a new coach, Rivers could potentially walk down the aisle to the Lakers and revise a franchise that is clearly sinking. Who wouldn’t love a twist to an interesting and suspenseful story between two LA rivals?